Skip to main content

The complexity of compromise

Boy, oh boy, there can be conflict within our minds and hearts sometimes, right? It is as though you could close your eyes for just a moment and see this little image of the angel on one shoulder and the devil on the other, each presenting their argument for why you should listen to their "advice" on what decision to make in the moment.  Well, it isn't that easy sometimes to be sure we are clearly able to distinguish between one voice over the other.  That clever part of us is always finding "loopholes" in the arguments of one or the other simply because we really want to do things our way anyway!  

So I tell you, live the way the Spirit leads you. Then you will not do the evil things your sinful self wants. The sinful self wants what is against the Spirit, and the Spirit wants what is against the sinful self. They are always fighting against each other, so that you don’t do what you really want to do. But if you let the Spirit lead you, you are not under law. (Galatians 5:16-18 ERV)

We sometimes find ourselves manipulating the truth, or believing the true part of a lie in order to justify what it is we really wanted to do in the first place. This is not a new issue with the human race, and I suspect it will continue on until Christ returns!  When Paul writes to the Galatian church to not make light of their freedom they have been given in Christ, he reminds them of a couple simple "tests" or "ways to know" we are doing the right things.  It wasn't too long before the believers of that day began to realize they were given a tremendous gift in God's grace and this presented a totally new set of problems for them.  

You see, if they didn't "have to" follow the rules of the Law of Moses any longer, replete with the lengthy Torah and other rules added to the mix, they weren't going to!  Regardless of how that made their brothers and sisters feel around them, some were enjoying their "freedom" way to freely and Paul needed to reign them in a little.  We are just like that first century group of believers when we take the gift of grace we have been given and think this gives us liberty to do whatever we want because we have grace to fall back on.

Grace is not something we "fall back on" - it is something we step forward into and realize the change it makes in our lives, as a result.  Grace doesn't give us liberty so we can justify those actions which are a little "marginal" in our lives. You know the ones I mean - those times when we act one way, but know deep down the action isn't really honoring the Lord fully.  When we choose to walk in our liberty in this manner, we often overlook the feelings of others, or what they believe to be true for their own lives.  We take liberty to the extreme and then we find ourselves doing harm to both ourselves (because we have compromised the purity of truth) and others (because we have brought about a conflict of values).

The Law of Moses wasn't a bad thing.  We humans have a tendency to take really good things and "elaborate" on them to make them "better".  This is just how we work.  The Law pointed Israel toward their need of a Savior - one whose blood would redeem them from their sin.  It pointed them toward relationship with God Almighty - no other gods before him.  It also pointed out their need for closeness to him - as anything else would cause a drift from the truth contained within the Law.  

In the way all humans go about living life, some of the rules seemed a little "too binding" - they confined the follower too tightly compared to those not living under those same rules.  Isn't this the age-old struggle revealed in just about every teenagers life along about the time they argue that "so-and-so's mother" is letting them go there, or do that, so "why can't I"?  In much the same way, the Israelites wanted to "add to" the rules some "clarifying factors" - making it "simpler" or "more realistic" to follow the rule if you did it this way or that. In time, those rules became more binding and difficult to follow because all compromise does is add complexity to life, my friends!

Paul's reminder is that freedom isn't liberty to do anything we desire.  It is freedom to draw closer to Jesus because now the complexity of compromise no longer exists!  Just sayin!

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The bobby pin in the electrical socket does what???

Avoidance is the act of staying away from something - usually because it brings some kind of negative effect into your life.  For example, if you are a diabetic, you avoid the intake of high quantities of simple sugars because they bring the negative effect of elevating your blood glucose to unhealthy levels.  If you were like me as a kid, listening to mom and dad tell you the electrical outlets were actually dangerous didn't matter all that much until you put the bobby pin into the tiny slots and felt that jolt of electric current course through your body! At that point, you recognized electricity as having a "dangerous" side to it - it produces negative effects when embraced in a wrong manner.  Both of these are good things, when used correctly.  Sugar has a benefit of producing energy within our cells, but an over-abundance of it will have a bad effect.  Electricity lights our path and keeps us warm on cold nights, but not contained as it should be and it can produce

Scrubbed Up and Ready to Go!

Have you ever considered just how 'clean' your hands really are? In nursing school, I remember this exercise we did where we rubbed hand lotion on our hands, then were told to go scrub them to practice a good handwashing technique. Most of us were going the extra mile by scrubbing back and front, in between the fingers and then even up above the wrist area. Surely our hands were clean, right? We came back to the room for the 'inspection' of our handwashing jobs only to find our instructor had turned the lights off, had a black light set up, and inspected our hands under that glowing beast! Guess what else 'glowed'? Our hands! The lotion was 'laced' with this 'dust' that illuminates under the black light, allowing each of us to see the specific areas around cuticles, under nails, and even here and there on our hands that got totally missed by our good 'handwashing' technique! What we thought was clean really wasn't clean at all. Clean

Doubt isn't a bad thing

I would like for you to consider for a moment what this journalist was attempting to share in his words: " Who never doubted, never half believed. Where doubt is, there truth is - it is her shadow ." (Ambrose Bierce) Have you ever doubted? Then it is suggested you were at least at the place of some form of belief. Have you ever considered what your doubt was attempting to reveal to you? Perhaps doubt is not a bad thing because it points us to consider the truth of a matter. Where doubt is - - - there truth is. It may be in the shadows, but it is there! We need only look a little closer and we will find truth has never been far from us.  The revelation of God is whole and pulls our lives together. The signposts of God are clear and point out the right road. The life-maps of God are right, showing the way to joy. The directions of God are plain and easy on the eyes. God’s reputation is twenty-four-carat gold, with a lifetime guarantee. The decisions of God are accurate dow